Lance Armstrong Las Vegas press conference 2008

Reports in Italy claim that Lance Armstrong will meet with officials from the Tour de France before deciding whether or not he will compete in next year's race.

According to the Associated Press agency, Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport claimed on Sunday that Johan Bruyneel, the Astana team manager, and Armstrong have asked for a meeting with Tour officials. Only after the meeting will Armstrong come to a definitive decision.

So far direct communication between Tour organisers ASO and Armstrong's management over his potential participation appears to have been limited. Frosty relations towards the end of Armstrong's seven-year run of Tour wins have not thawed with news of his comeback.

Bruyneel told Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure that a meeting between himself and ASO officials had been planned after the Tour de France presentation but that it never materialised. Hence the importance that finally another get-together has been proposed.

The announcement is the latest development in a longrunning saga over over whether Armstrong will or will not take part in the 2009 Tour de France.

Armstrong kickstarted talk of his comeback by categorically telling American magazine Vanity Fair that he was going to be gunning for an eighth Tour.

However, the Tour organisers? lukewarm response to Armstrong?s announcement, as well as Armstrong?s concerns about what kind of welcome he will have in France, have turned what could have been a definitive participation into a will-he/won?t-he scenario.

At one point Bruyneel said the chances of the American returning to the Tour were 50-50 and Armstrong has said that the Tour of Italy could be the one three-week stage race he takes part in in 2009. Now it would seem that a single meeting will be the key element in deciding whether the most successful ever Tour de France rider actually takes part in the race again - or not.

What appears to be definitely on the program for Armstrong is the following: Tour Down Under (Jan 20th - 25th); Tour of California (February 14th-22nd); Criterium International (March 27th-28th); Tour of Flanders (April 4th) and the Tour of Italy (May 9th-31st). Races that have been cited as possible include Paris-Nice (March 8th-15th) and the Dauphine Libere (June 7th-14th).

Both the Criterium International and Paris-Nice are events in France run by ASO - just like the Tour. But it is only the Tour de France where there are so many questionmarks over Armstrong's possible participation.


Armstrong still playing it cool over Tour

Armstrong says he could not have hoped for a different Tour

Contador to stay with Astana and Armstrong

Lance Armstrong's Tour de France comeback in doubt

Armstrong to ride the 2009 Giro d'Italia

Armstrong rejects offer to re-test 1999 samples

Armstrong knew about six month rule

French offer Armstrong re-test of his 1999 Tour samples

Amrstrong hopes UCI show 'common sense' for Aussie return

Armstrong comeback in Tour Down Under faces possible delays

Watch Armstrong in Vegas 'Cross race

Armstrong confirms Ventoux time trial for 2009?

Armstrong's comeback starts in Australia

Wednesday Comment (September 24)

Contador says riding with Lance could be difficult

UCI president rubbishes Armstrong Tour buyout claims

Bruyneel talks up Armstrong's chances

The Wednesday Comment, Armstrong Edition (September 10)

Tour de France: Lance can race in 2009

Contador: Lance could win eighth Tour

Lance confirms 2009 comeback

Armstrong: No smoke without fire?

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Founded in 1891, Cycling Weekly and its team of expert journalists brings cyclists in-depth reviews, extensive coverage of both professional and domestic racing, as well as fitness advice and 'brew a cuppa and put your feet up' features. Cycling Weekly serves its audience across a range of platforms, from good old-fashioned print to online journalism, and video.